Last year was a difficult year in Burundi. A year of political unrest has affected everyone’s lives in many ways. Many organizations also struggled in the unstable environment. This made the goals of Kaz’O’zah Art to train, support and facilitate vulnerable Burundian artisans even more necessary – but even more difficult to achieve.
Despite this, we remained dedicated to our motto – ART – Aspire, Reach, Thrive. It was not enough just to survive the difficult times in Burundi, but to thrive.
In 2015, our not-for-profit arm, Kaz’O’zah Keza, launched the Art Innovation Incubator, but progress was difficult – the instability in Burundi had forced some of our trainers to flee the country or take refuge in the country side. However, this month our first team of 15 artisans was enrolled and embarked on a 4 month training course including vocational and non-vocational training.
The course got off to an exciting start as the artisans received their packs including learning materials and name badges. The artisans were extremely energetic and keen to get started. For many of them this was a chance to continue education that had been prematurely stopped by poverty or circumstance. For some, it was the first formal education they had ever received.
The first course on Business and Entrepreneurship was designed to prepare artisans to form and manage their own cooperatives. The artisans worked in groups and completed exercises. Importantly, it was also a chance for the artisans to share their knowledge with one another.
The next course to begin was Basic English. It is part of Kaz’O’zah Art’s mission to find markets for our artisans that the artisans themselves would struggle to reach – customers in other cities, other countries, and other continents. Learning English will allow artisans to personally engage with foreign customers and provide them with a valuable life-long skill.
By the end of the second week our artisans were expressing their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs, and speaking whole sentences in English!
It has been a difficult journey over the last 12 months, but our ambition to improve the lives of Burundian artisans by training and supporting them and facilitating their access to both national and international markets remains unchanged. The artisans’ dedication to their work and to improving themselves has been unchanging and ever inspiring. Working together we will succeed in ensuring our artisans get the skills, support and market access to achieve their full potential.
Thank you to our wonderful trainers Emile, Venantie and Jean Bosco.